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Of course Trump briefly advertised his new hotel during the presidential debate

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

The first debate of the general election was supposed to be commercial-free. But then Donald Trump started talking about his hotel.

Somehow, amid a defense of his refusal to release his tax returns, Trump found the time to talk about the hotel he just opened on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC:

We’re just opening up on Pennsylvania Avenue, right next to the White House — so if I don’t get there one way I'm going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another — but we’re opening the Old Post Office. Under budget, ahead of schedule, saved tremendous money. I’m a year ahead of schedule.

This is more than just a tic of Trump’s. He’s seemingly incapable of not promoting his hotels when given half a chance — even during a serious occasion, like a presidential debate or a press conference at which he said for the first time that he believed President Obama was born in the United States.

A lot of Trump’s campaign spending goes right back to the Trump Organization. When Trump started relying on donors’ money to finance his campaign, he raised the rent for the offices in Trump Tower. His foundation spent $20,000 — of other people’s money — to buy a portrait of Trump himself. He hasn’t said that, as president, he’d put his investments in a blind trust or step back from managing his own business, aside from promising to turn it over to his children, who are also among his closest campaign advisers. And, of course, he hasn’t made any financial disclosures.

Trump is frequently using his campaign and his foundation to personally enrich himself.